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Hometown Highlights: Gee Watts, Plu$+, Rooftop Vigilantes + more

The summer heat just keeps rolling. Kansas City has had another couple of excellent weeks for new music and we wanted to make sure you knew about all of it. Below are new tracks from several Kansas City and Lawrence punk, hip-hop, and alt-rock acts that are sure to cool you down on this feverish First Friday.

Gee Watts - "Ignored Calls"
As the city's hunger for Watts' "Caviart" album keeps growing, the rapper decided to give us "Sketches" to snack on. The eight song release includes three songs off a sampler CD from last year that never made it to the web along with five unheard cuts. "Ignored Calls" features Gee rapping about his hardships and perseverance over a soul-sampling instrumental that sounds like it could be a Madlib "Piñata" beat. Any past fan of Watts will immediately fall for this groovy, distinctly Kansas City track.

Rooftop Vigilantes - "Oracle Cop"
Lawrence rock group Rooftop Vigilantes was put on hold for a few years due to a member leaving town. While we're not sure if they're back for good or not, the group's long awaited third LP, "Let It Be," will be arriving on July 22nd and they will be performing a few release shows in Lawrence and Kansas City. "Oracle Cop" is the first single released from the album and is one of the band's catchiest songs yet. The group's yelped and lovably messy harmonies and miniature guitar solos are bound to having you tapping your foot and trying to sing along.

The Drippies - "I'm A Waste"
One of Kansas City's wildest punk bands is back with a couple new jams. Recorded live for the KCDIYYODA webshow, "Live And Uncut" features one song from the band's demo along with two new songs, one of which is "I'm A Waste." On this celebration of feeling useless, vocalist Noah Hayes gruffly shouts, "1-2-3-4 I can't take this anymore," and later, "4-5-6-7 I'm a cretin, there's no heaven," as his band of leather-clad teenage goons shreds and squeals behind him.

SuperShaqGonzoe - "One Day"
Although originally from Georgia and currently attending Kansas State University, a majority of SuperShaqGonzoe's shows have been in Lawrence and Kansas City. Gonzoe recently released an EP titled "One Day" and its title track oozes ambition and youthful excitement. The song opens with a sample of Kanye West's Zane Lowe interview where he exclaims "Rap is the new rock-n-roll. We the rockstars." A guitar lead plays and the track explodes as Gonzoe recounts his plan to be the man and stack some bands in true rockstar form.

Plu$+ - "Watch The Ice" ft. Hotboy Leon
While his overall product isn't quite as polished as other upcoming rappers, Plu$+ is making his mark as a superb hook writer with an exciting flow. The Kansas City via Wichita rhymer recently posted "Watch The Ice," his first new track since "God $hit" five months ago. "God $hit" flaunted Plu$'s ability to make cloud rap, but "Watch The Ice" has shown that he's just as capable of creating hyped-up Atlanta-style rap similar to that of Rich The Kid or MadeInTyo. With a more professional mix and a larger catalog of tracks, Plu$+ could easily rise to be one of Kansas City's most successful hip-hop acts.

Grim Repeater - "Inside The Blessed Virgin's Hold"
Grim Repeater is the recording project of KU student Doug Bybee. We caught Bybee's performance with Eggs On Mars and Eric Griffin Jr. at Uptown Arts Bar back in January and he released his "Real Life Postcards" EP in April. Bybee creates lo-fi pop tunes and cites Mac DeMarco as a large influence. The other three songs on this release are held back by some vocal woes, but "Inside The Blessed Virgin's Hold" is an all-instrumental track that highlights Bybee's ability to craft a catchy, sunny, synth-filled melody perfect for a long summer.

The Leisure Boys - "She's Gone"
The Leisure Boys are a Kansas City rock trio that seem to have relocated here from Denver somewhat recently. The band just released their second album, a self-titled effort, last month and "She's Gone" is one of the album's strongest tunes. This bluesy, laid back track hearkens back to the jangly garage rock of the '60's, ending up like a more lo-fi version of some "Brothers"-era Black Keys tunes.

Alexander Preston - "Killswitch"
The sinister string section and dark, modern production style makes "Killswitch" one of the most menacing beats you'll hear all month. As Kansas City slowly but surely gets to know Alexander Preston, it becomes clearer and clearer with every release that he is one of the city's most talented hip-hop producers. It's no wonder he's essentially Zarin Micheal's right hand man. Be sure to listen to his sophomore EP "Rogue" for more.

Check out past Hometown Highlights updates here.

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